Friday, June 10, 2016

Various Artists : "Kerrang! : Maiden Heaven Volume 2

I used to sing for an Iron Maiden tribute band so the bar is pretty fucking high when it comes to what my expectations for bands who try to tackle Maiden. The first installment Kerrang! did of this had some pretty mixed results and the line up on this one could be hit or miss. Stonesour is wise to stay away from the Bruce songs and give Corey Taylor something more easily attainable given his style of singing, by going after "Running Free" one of the least demanding Dianno songs. I expected a little more fire in the guitars attack so not really blown away they do a pretty passable job. I am not really familiar with the british band Reigning Days. I think it is a little odd they chose a song off Maiden's latest album. "Speed of Light" was my least favorite song on that album, but the rock n roll take on the song is well suited. Escape the Fate was pretty bold to take on "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Their singer can't come close to the power and command Bruce has. He sings in the teenage sounding emo whine. He fails to hit the note on the phrase "crazy dream" and tries to scream or growl on notes he has no hop of hitting. The palm muted thing they do leading into the solo is an attempt to give the song a more modern spin that it doesn't need and then the break down is almost blasphemy. The guitarists try to over compensate on the solo and really lack the quality of tone Smith and Murray have.

 Alt-rockers Lonely the Brave go after "Fear of the Dark". The vocals are more of an introspective baritone. I think they should have gotten Ryan Adams to cover this instead. When it is time to crank it up, the band shows more promise. Their singer sounds more like the dude from Quicksand or Bad Religion than Bruce and really strains up top. No one ever said this was going to be an easy feat, but I think these guys give the song and honest shot. Trivium makes another odd choice in "For the Greater Good of God". Heafy does better than I though he would on the more power ballad like intro. However when he tries go up into his upper register it is poorly blended and sounds like someone at karaoke. Former LostAlone front-man Steven Battelle, gives a questionable performance of "the Red and the Black". The chug of his guitar is mixed with almost as little balls as his voice has, so I suppose it is well matched. Another odd pairing is the pseudo horror punk band Creeper, whose singer sounds like Fish from Marrillion. Their version of "the Evil That Men Do" was somewhat subdued. The screamo "Number of the Beast" that Lower than Atlantis performs, is also questionable. The singer is either screaming or crooning so there is little in the way of balance the solo section is the only part resembling the original. Anaal Nathrakh must feel the pressure of being the only black metal band as their cover of "Powerslave" is a little too blasty. The vocals on the chorus are decent. There is an almost djent like groove to the pounding the give the song in certain places.

Shredder Jacky Vincent goes for the gold with his new band Cry Venom, who does a fairly decent version of "Aces High" that pays more respect to the original version than the bulk of these bands. Still they are not as aggressive as Maiden in their frantic attack. You expect Fozzy to bring it on "Sun and Steel". Their performance is not unlike what you might think a band like Iced Earth would do if given the same song. Though their guitar tone is not as punchy as Iced Earth. Muncie Girls does an interesting cover of "the Wicker Man". I'm not really that emotionally invested in the original, so this indie rock take doesn't bother man. Heck who used to be called Baby Godzilla, doesn't try to really tackle "the Trooper". For good reason it's such an iconic song to fail at it is very amplified. They side step it for the most part. Instead the go kinda noisey and screamo. Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats give "Remember Tomorrow" a better run for it's money than Metallica. The vocals are heavily effected and the garage psyche works well on it. It sounds like Anathema has heard Ryan Adams cover of "Wasted Years" as it's very similar. I'll give this one a 7.5, nothing I really need to own, but it was a fun listen first time around.

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